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Smoking Linked to Skin Cancer in Women
Date:12/15/2011

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- If you're a woman who smokes and you are looking for another reason to quit, consider this: A new study has found a link between tobacco use and skin cancer.

The study found that women who had squamous cell skin cancer were more likely to have smoked than those who were free from the disease. And those who smoked at least 20 years were twice as likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer, a less aggressive form of skin cancer than melanoma.

Men who smoked had a modest risk for the two types of non-melanoma skin cancer -- basal cell and squamous cell cancer -- but the results weren't statistically significant, the study authors noted.

"We don't know why," said study lead author Dana Rollison, referring to the difference between women's and men's risk. Both men and women get a lot of exposure to the sun, the main risk factor for skin cancer, she noted.

But lung cancer research may offer a clue, said Rollison, an associate member in the Moffitt Cancer Center department of cancer epidemiology, in Tampa, Fla. Hormonal differences affecting the metabolization of nicotine and the body's ability to repair damage to lung DNA caused by smoking have been noted before, suggesting that the female hormone estrogen may play a role, she said.

The study, published online in the journal Cancer Causes Control, was done at the Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida, also in Tampa.

For the study, 383 patients with skin cancer were compared to 315 people without the disease. The participants were asked how much they smoked, when they picked up the habit and the total number of years they'd smoked. A total of 355 men and 343 women were included in the study. All were white, the group most at risk for skin cancer. Risks for both types of non-melanoma skin cancer were analyzed separately, compensating for the pr
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